University of Passau rejects framework contract on copyright-protected content

In last week's meeting, the University Executive resolved to opt out of the framework contract with VG Wort. As a result, the members of the University of Passau will be faced with significant changes as of 1 January 2017, when the new framework contract comes into effect.

The framework contract, which was negotiated by federal and state representatives with the VG Wort authors' collecting agency, stipulates that every use of excerpts from copyright-protected works must be notified to VG Wort and paid for by the University of Passau. This follows a ruling by the German Federal Court (Bundesgerichtshof), which found that the arrangement previously in place did not conform with §52a of the German Copyright Act (Urheberrechtsgesetz; UrhG). The new framework contract (German), negotiated in September of this year, complies with the law.

Under the new contract, lecturers and researchers would have to record and notify the VG Wort of each use of copyright-protected content. Universities who enter into the contract become direct contract partners with VG Wort, hence becoming responsible for ensuring that each lecturer and researcher makes the proper notifications to the collecting agency. Moreover, the University Executive has taken the view that this would incur an unacceptable additional burden on the members of the University, and has therefore decided that the University will not enter into this contract.

For lecturers and researchers at the University, this means that:

  • You can still upload the relevant content to our virtual learning environments or password-protected websites until 31 December 2016.
  • As of 1 January 2017, you may only upload texts that you have written yourself or for which you have obtained the relevant permissions from the rights holders. However, you may not upload copyright-protected, published texts, such as newspaper or magazine articles, book excerpts or texts published elsewhere on the Internet.
  • Will you have to delete all documents uploaded onto Stud.IP for the current semester or even all uploaded documents?

    No; you do not have to delete documents or modules/courses in Stud.IP. The documents will be automatically given the status 'licence status unknown' and will no longer be downloadable from Stud.IP as of 1 January 2017.

For details, see:

Contacts for enquiries:

If you have questions about copyright and licensing, contact:
Ms Stefanie Hasler
University Library
Phone: +49 851 509 1605

Please address technical questions to:
Dr Ulrich Zukowski
Centre for Information Technology and Media Services (ZIM)
Phone: +49 851 509 3280

| 12.12.2016


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